Abt 1587 - 1657 (~ 69 years)
Has 8 ancestors and more than 100 descendants in this family tree.
||William Bradford |
||Gov. Col. |
||Abt 30 Oct 1587
||Austerfield, Yorkshire, England
||9 May 1657
||Plymouth Colony, MA
||3 May 2017 |
||Dorothy May, b. 1597, England , d. 1620, Plymouth Colony, MA (Age 23 years) |
||10 Dec 1613
||Amsterdam, NH, NL
| ||1. John Bradford, b. 1618, Leiden, ZH, NL , d. 1676, Norwich, Conn, USA (Age 58 years)|
||31 Jan 2003 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||Alice Carpenter, b. 3 Aug 1590, Wrington, Somerset, England , d. 26 Mar 1670, Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA (Age 79 years) |
||14 Aug 1623
||Plymouth Colony, MA
| ||1. Major William Bradford, b. 17 Jun 1624, Plymouth Colony, MA , d. 1703, Plymouth Colony, MA (Age 78 years)|
| ||2. Mercy Bradford, b. 1627, Plymouth Colony, MA , d. 1657, Plymouth Colony, MA (Age 30 years)|
| ||3. Joseph Bradford, b. Abt 1630, Plymouth Colony, MA , d. 10 Jul 1715, Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA (Age ~ 85 years)|
||19 Mar 2001 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
- Mayflower passenger
the ever-dutiful and faithful Governor of Plymouth Colony.
It is through him that we know much of the early data about the Mayflower and its passengers.
Plymmouth colony Governor
Ref; New England Families Genealogical and memorial; Third Series, Vol. III
Bapized at Austerfield, Yorkshire, England, - March 19, 1589/1590
Ref; Mayflower Families in Progress: William Bradford for Four Generations (Plymouth : General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1994)
The Reverend Cotton Mather in an epitah said of him " . . . At length he fell into an Indisposition of Body, which rendred him unhealthy for a whole Winter; and as the Spring advanced, his Health yet more declined; yet he felt himself not what he counted Sick, till one Day; in the Night after which, the God of Heaven so fill'd his Mind with Ineffable Consolations, that he seemed little short of Paul, rapt up unto the Unutterable Entertainments of Paradise. The next Morning he told his Friends, That the good Spirit of God had given him a Pledge of his Happiness in another World, and the First-fruits of his Eternal Glory: And on the Day following he died, May 9 . 1657. in the 68th Year of his Age. Lamented by all the Colonies of New England, as a Common Blessing and Father to them all. . ."
The early years of Bradford's life are described by Cotton Mather in his book Magnalia Christi Americana first published in 1702:
Among those Devout People was our William Bradford, who was Born Anno 1588. in an obscure Village call'd Austerfield, where the People were as unacquainted with the Bible, as the Jews do seem to have been with part of it in the Days of Josiah; a most Ignorant and Licentious People, and like unto their Priest. Here, and in some other Places, he had a Comfortable Inheritance left him of his Honest Parents, who died while he was yet a Child, and cast him on the Education, first of his Grand Parents, and then of his Uncles, who devoted him, like his Ancestors, unto the Affairs of Husbandry. Soon and long Sickness kept him, as he would afterwards thankfully say, from the Vanities of Youth, and made him the fitter for what he was afterwards to undergo. When he was about a Dozen Years Old, the Reading of the Scriptures began to cause great Impressions upon him; and those Impressions were much assisted and improved, when he came to enjoy Mr. Richard Clifton's Illuminating Ministry, not far from his Abode; he was then also further befriended, by being brought into the Company and Fellowship of such as were then called Professors; though the Young Man that brought him into it, did after become a Prophane and Wicked Apostate. Nor could the Wrath of his Uncles, nor the Scoff of his Neighbours now turn'd upon him, as one of the Puritans, divert him from his Pious Inclinations.
. . . Having with a great Company of Christians Hired a Ship to Transport them for Holland, the Master perfidiously betrayed them into the Hands of those Persecutors; who Rifled and Ransack'd their Goods, and clapp'd their Persons into Prison at Boston, where they lay for a Month together. But Mr. Bradford being a Young Man of about Eighteen, was dismissed sooner than the rest, so that within a while he had Opportunity with some others to get over to Zealand, through Perils both by Land and Sea not inconsiderable; where he was not long Ashore ere a Viper seized on his Hand, that is, an Officer, who carried him Unto the Magistrates, unto whom an envious Passenger had accused him as having fled out of England. When the Magistrates understood the True Cause of his coming thither, they were well satisfied with him; and so he repaired joyfully unto his Brethren at Amsterdam, where the Difficulties to which he afterwards stooped in Learning and Serving of a Frenchman at the Working of Silks, were abundantly Compensated by the Delight wherewith he sat under the Shadow of our Lord in his purely dispensed Ordinances. At the end of Two Years, he did, being of Age to do it, convert his Estate in England into Money; but Setting up for himself, he found some of his Designs by the Providence of God frowned upon, which he judged a Correction bestowed by God upon him for certain Decays of Internal Piety, whereinto he had fallen; the Consumption of his Estate he thought came to prevent a Consumption in his Virtue. But after he had resided in Holland about half a Score Years, he was one of those who bore a part in that Hazardous and Generous Enterprize of removing into New England, with part of the English Church at Leyden, where at their first Landing, his dearest Consort accidentally falling Overboard, was drowned in the Harbour; and the rest of his Days were spent in the Services, and the Temptations, of that American Wilderness.
William Bradford came on the Mayflower with his wife Dorothy (May), leaving son John behind in Holland. Dorothy fell off the Mayflower and drowned on 7 December 1620, when it was anchored in Provincetown Harbor.
This was an accidental drowning. The story of the suicide, affair with Captain Chrostopher Jones, etc. comes from a fictional "soap opera" story published in a national women's magazine in 1869--a story published as truth by the author, based on "family stories", but which the author later admitted was an invention of her own imagination. For further information on this, see Mayflower Descendant 29:97-102 , and especially 31:105.
After the death of John Carver in April 1621, Bradford was elected governor of the Plymouth Colony, and continued in that capacity nearly all his life. In 1623 he married Alice (Carpenter) Southworth, widow of Edward Southworth. A description of the marriage is found in a letter written by a visitor to Plymouth Colony, Emmanuel Altham, in 1623:
Upon the occasion of the Governor's marriage, since I came, Massasoit was sent for to the wedding, where came with him his wife, the queen, although he hath five wives. With him came four other kings and about six score men with their bows and arrows--where, when they came to our town, we saluted them with the shooting off of many muskets and training our men. And so all the bows and arrows was brought into the Governor's house, and he brought the Governor three or four bucks and a turkey. And so we had very good pastime in seeing them dance, which is in such manner, with such a noise that you would wonder. . . . And now to say somewhat of the great cheer we had at the Governor's marriage. We had about twelve pasty venisons, besides others, pieces of roasted venison and other such good cheer in such quantity that I could wish you some of our share. For here we have the best grapes that ever you say--and the biggest, and divers sorts of plums and nuts which our business will not suffer us to look for.
William Bradford died in 1657, having been governor of the Plymouth Colony for almost the entire period since 1621. Cotton Mather in his Magnalia Christi Americana wrote that William Bradford:
. . . was a Person for Study as well as Action; and hence, notwithstanding the Difficulties through which he passed in his Youth, he attained unto a notable Skill in Languages; the Dutch Tongue was become almost as Vernacular to him as the English; the French Tongue he could also manage; the Latin and the Greek he had Mastered; but the Hebrew he most of all studied, Because, he said, he would see with his own Eyes the Ancient Oracles of God in their Native Beauty. He was also well skill'd in History, in Antiquity, and in Philosophy; and for Theology he became so versed in it, that he was an Irrefragable Disputant against the Errors, especially those of Anabaptism, which with Trouble he saw rising in his Colony; wherefore he wrote some Significant things for the Confutation of those Errors. But the Crown of all was his Holy, Prayerful, Watchful and Fruitful Walk with God, wherein he was very Exemplary. At length he fell into an Indisposition of Body, which rendred him unhealthy for a whole Winter; and as the Spring advanced, his Health yet more declined; yet he felt himself not what he counted Sick, till one Day; in the Night after which, the God of Heaven so fill'd his Mind with Ineffable Consolations, that he seemed little short of Paul, rapt up unto the Unutterable Entertainments of Paradise. The next Morning he told his Friends, That the good Spirit of God had given him a Pledge of his Happiness in another World, and the First-fruits of his Eternal Glory: And on the Day following he died, May 9, 1657 in the 68th Year of his Age. Lamented by all the Colonies of New England, as a Common Blessing and Father to them all.
William Bradford wrote Of Plymouth Plantation chronicling the history of the Plymouth Colony, and the events that led up to their leaving England for Holland, and later to New England. William Bradford also wrote part of Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, and he recorded some of the important letters he wrote and received in a letterbook which still partially exists. Nathaniel Morton's 1669 book, New England's Memorial also records a poem written by William Bradford on his deathbed. There are also two elegy poems written in 1657 after Bradford's death--the first elegy poem is anonymous, and the second elegy poem was written by Josias Winslow.